Palm Beach News

Grand Slammed: U.S. Open Rough on the Locals

As we come down the final stretch of tennis' U.S. Open, the draws are conspicuously lacking in South Floridians. Only Serena Williams of Palm Beach Gardens has made it to the tournament's quarterfinals.

And things started so auspiciously for our local contingent. On the men's side, Boca Raton's adopted son Jesse Levine cruised into the second round. The underdog who turned so many heads at Wimbledon in June, Levine looked ready to spring the U.S. Open's first major upset when he took the first two sets from 16-ranked Marin Cilic, but in the third set, Levine hit a wall and never recovered. Instead, the big upset happened in the third round, and it claimed another Boca boy -- Andy Roddick, who lost a marathon match to 24-year-old John Isner, the game's 55th ranked player.

That same upset bug bit Elena Dementieva, the part-time Boca resident who was surprised by up-and-comer Melanie Oudin in the second round. One round later, Venus Williams was victimized by feel-good story Kim Clijsters in yet another upset.

In so doing, we were deprived another match between the sisters, who of course hate playing each other but were on course to meet in the semis. Now this is Serena's tournament to lose.

Last month, ESPN columnist Rick Reilly accused his fellow media of racial bias for failing to more appropriately gush over the sisters' careers and, as if on cue, the Times rolled out an interactive Timeline to express the Williamses' dominance.

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Thomas Francis